Amnesty International, UCSD’s chapter included, launched the Campaign Against Torture on Oct. 18.
Amnesty International was founded at UCSD in 1988 and works to raise awareness about human rights issues on campus and in the community. It also instigates campaigns fighting against human rights and political issues through activities such as letter writing, lectures, films and concerts.
The organization-wide goals for the Campaign Against Torture are to undertake special joint-action strategies in 21 countries to fight against torture and ill treatment, to require torturers to be held accountable for their actions and be brought to justice in their own countries or elsewhere, to encourage training for police and security forces in proper, humane interrogation techniques, to end the global trade of torture equipment, to confront violence against women that falls under the heading of torture, to lobby for the United Nations to take action against torture at the World Conference on Racism, to expose and end torture inflicted on children, and to challenge governments to implement the U.N. Convention Against Torture.
UCSD’s chapter plans to take action to support the campaign over the course of the next two years. Events have so far included a joint press conference at Border Field State Park, organized by chapters of Amnesty in San Diego and Tijuana.
After the press conference, an artist reception in Tijuana unveiled an exhibit of paintings by women painters of the area done especially for the campaign.
Amnesty at UCSD is currently attempting to have these paintings shown again on campus, and to have the UCSD Art Gallery feature a series of photographs documenting crimes of human rights during the regime of Chilean dictator Agusto Pinochet.
The gallery normally books exhibits over a year and a half in advance, but this exhibit may find a place if another falls through.
In addition, Amnesty at UCSD is aiming to have one speaker per quarter throughout the campaign.
Possible speakers include professors from UCSD, the University of San Diego and San Diego State University, or individuals from organizations such as the San Diego-based Survivors of Torture International, which provides medical and psychological assistance for survivors of torture worldwide. The organization can be contacted at (619) 582-9018.
Dec. 10 will be a day to focus on Children and Torture, and March 8, International Women’s Day, will have an emphasis on women and torture.
During the month of June, which is Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender Pride Month, the campaign will highlight torture aimed at such persons. The National Week of Student Action will occur April 1 through April 8.